Today I have the privilege of introducing our blog readers to a new Books & Such agent, Barb Roose. Barb has been a part of our agency for seven years as a client of Rachelle Gardner. All we agents have come to know and appreciate her humor, warmth, and intelligence through Books & Such retreats and gatherings over the last several years.
When it came time to add an agent to our roster, Barb seemed to me an obvious choice. An accomplished author and national speaker, she brings a raft of experience with her.
To help you become acquainted with her, I asked her a few get-to-know you questions.
A: Lots of learning and listening! I’ve had many life-giving conversations with my fellow agents about their experience, wisdom, and passion for partnering with hopeful and established authors. Janet, I love that you set the agency standard for encouragement and open-handedness when it comes to sharing the resources that I need to be a successful agent.
Q: What experiences and skills do you see God has built into your life that make agenting a good fit for you?
A: I don’t know about anyone else, but at many points in my life I’ve given God lots of suggestions about the direction in which I thought that my life should go.
Thankfully, God didn’t answer my prayer! For every detour, closed road, and construction zone, God invited me to embrace those unexpected moments so that I could develop perseverance, courage, compassion, and grit.
As a woman and person of color, most of my career paths meant that I would often be the only in the room. “Trailblazer” is the word that comes to mind as I reflect on my years in sales, ministry, leadership, coaching, speaking, and as an author. I love that these career pathways converged to deliver me to the path that I’m on now.
Q: As someone with a strong background in sales, how do you think that job experience adds to your agent skill-set?
A: During my years in pharmaceutical sales, I learned that connection and relationship create a higher return-on-investment than a single sales transaction or contract.
Caring and competition aren’t mutually exclusive. Caring means that I value what my client, an editor, or a publisher is trying to build. Competition means that I’m not afraid to improvise, adapt, or overcome whatever challenges stand in the way.
Q: From a writer’s perspective, what do appreciate most about the Christian publishing industry?
A: As an African-American woman, I appreciate that I’ve been welcomed and encouraged to include my authentic self, stories, and experiences in my writing and my platform.
I appreciate the opportunity to make a “now-and-eternal” difference and help people to live with passion and purpose.
I’ve been lucky that I’ve met and worked with so many people in publishing who’ve taken me under their wing to show me how the industry works. Many people have opened doors to opportunities that I couldn’t push open on my own.
Q: What have you learned about agenting as Rachelle Gardner’s client?
A: Foremost, I admire how passionately Rachelle champions thoughtful and brilliant voices from whom Christian publishing needs to hear.
As an agent, Rachelle is confident and steady. I know enough authors now to know that we struggle to keep perspective on our careers and the industry. As a client, I value how Rachelle keeps me focused. During the quarantine, she created a safe space for her clients to gather online with the sole goal of being present for us.
I want to model Rachelle’s ability to patiently hold space with an author while helping him or her to keep looking forward, even if we’re not ready to move ahead.
Q: I know you’ve been giving considerable thought to what qualities you’re looking for in potential new clients. Could you give us a checklist of what is uppermost in your mind?
A: As an agent, my dream is to partner with authors to achieve their publishing goals and dreams. I’m looking for clients who have these three essential elements:
A “wow” concept or proposal + great writing + an attractive platform.
Second, I love the culture that you’ve created among the Books & Such agents. Our agency is a “we” culture, not a “me” culture. I’ve felt like part of a community as a B&S author, so I want to find clients that first and foremost fit into our culture.
Q: What kind of projects are of special interest to you and why?
A: My literary magnets are fiction and nonfiction books about courage, perseverance, and grit. When writers tell stories about overcoming life and faith challenges, I feel connected to them. God uses them to teach me how to endure and overcome in my own life so that I can get better at loving and serving others.
I’m looking to work with authors who see themselves on the journey with their readers–not ahead or behind–but walking alongside them toward God’s best.
Q: What’s one little-known detail about you that would surprise us?
A: I prefer to eat my dessert first before my dinner. Why take the risk in getting full and not having enough room for it later?
Thanks, Barb, for giving our blog readers a glimpse into who are you. Everyone will get to hear from you regularly here on the blog. I know they’re in for a treat as you share your writing wisdom with us as well as new angles of publishing that you’ll explore as an agent.
If you would like to query Barb, you may contact her at the [email protected] using Barb’s name in the subject line.
Please feel free to welcome Barb and ask her any questions you have in the comments.
A new literary agent tells about herself and what type of clients and projects she’s looking to represent. Click to tweet.